Summer is here at last, in both bright and vibrant green. My mind is filled with the scent of lilies-of-the-valley and piano music as I write this message from the Patroness of the Fourth International Maj Lind Piano Competition. Finland’s leading international piano competition is now about to begin at the Helsinki Music Centre.
The Maj Lind Piano Competitions have singled out star Finnish pianists from Jussi Siirala and Arto Satukangas to Olli Mustonen. In 2002, the competition became an international event, spotlighting top talents such as Alberto Nosè and Sofija Guljak.
How did a music event such as this come about? Finnish women have had the acumen to invest their money in the right way. One of them was Maj Lind, née Maria Kopjeff (1876–1942) when she inherited the estate of her husband Arvid Lind.
Maj spent her youthful years in Kuopio. Once again we see evidence of that city’s cultural circles, of Kanttila (the home of Minna Canth), Elisabeth Järnefelt and her artist children. All genres of the arts were present. Ida Basilier-Magelssen, Oskar Merikanto, Maikki Pakarinen and others gave concerts there. The culture was multilingual. Individuals were immortalised in the photos of Victor Barsokevitsch.
On being left a widow, Maj Lind travelled abroad with her friends, and there was music. The international trend was tangible. Maj Lind also performed in public.
I was born in June 1942. Maj Lind died at the age of 66 in October 1942. It feels as if we shook hands.
The Maj Lind Piano Competition upholds Finland’s finest cultural traditions. We must not be content with little or the mediocre: may a passion for quality be paramount. The best must be lent wings and support. As they will be in the Maj Lind Piano Competition.
Former MP, Minister and Speaker of the Finnish Parliament